IRELAND’S Cian O’Connor chalked up Ireland’s first top five place at the five-star show in Helsinki.
Though fellow Irish rider Billy Twomey has been recording top ten finishes at Helsinki since international competitions kicked off on Friday, O’Connor is the first to break into the top five.
Riding his new bay gelding Carpe Diem, the 31 year-old came home clear in the night’s feature class, but five seconds adrift of Belgian winner Ludo Philippaerts and the black stallion Tauber van het Kapelhof.
Denis Lynch, who finished fifth in the first leg of the 2011/2012 World Cup series at Oslo last weekend, is also at Helsinki and will be hoping to equal or better his place tomorrow to add valuable points to his overall ranking.
AN Irish rider again finished in the top ten of the Rolex World Cup Series when Cork’s Billy Twomey placed seventh today in the second leg at Helsinki in Finland, riding Tracey Forrest’s chestnut stallion Romanov II.
Twomey, who had been forced to retire during the initial leg at Oslo last week when his horse’s martingale broke during the first round, was one of nine through to the jump-off this afternoon from a starting field of 37, and finished seventh on four faults.
Points gained today now put the 34 year-old in equal 12th place on the World Cup leaderboard for the 2011/2012 series.
Tipperary’s Denis Lynch, who finished fifth in Oslo last week and is now tenth in the overall ranking, was less fortunate today when recording four faults in the first round on Hans-Helmut Bauer’s Lord Luis, while Cian O’Connor retired his new mount Carpe Diem after having three fences down.
Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer won the Helsinki World Cup class with the bay mare Calina on a double clear, repeating their victory at Oslo and now topping the table on 40 points.
The next leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup Series takes place in Lyon, France next week.
In France, meanwhile, Irish-bred horses excelled in the World Breeding Championship for young event horses at Le Lion d’Angers, with the Irish Sport Horse Studbook finishing a very close second to the Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands. A total of 11 studbooks were represented.
British rider Piggy French finished third in the seven year-old class with the Kiltealy Spring gelding Kiltealy Brief, bred by Patrick Kavanagh, while fellow British rider Nicola Wilson was placed in fifth with the Newmarket Venture mare Annie Clover, which was bred by James Bradley.
Best of the Irish riders in this category was Steven Smith and James Fogarty’s Olympic Lux gelding Good Lux Jack, who finished in 16th, with Brian Morrison not far behind in 18th on P.J. Hegarty’s mare Fenyas Elegance.
In the six year-old category, the best placed Irish horse was the Maltstriker gelding Atlantico Domino, bred by David Browne and ridden by Britain’s Tanya Kyle, in eighth, while Austin O’Connor was the highest-ranked Irish rider, finishing in 14th place on the Master Imp gelding Kilpatrick Knight, bred by Joan J. Dolan.